Conservative MP Derek Sloan attends a Conservative caucus retreat on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. A proposed bill banning forcing someone into therapy to alter their sexual orientation is turning into a political fundraising tool. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Conservative MP Derek Sloan attends a Conservative caucus retreat on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. A proposed bill banning forcing someone into therapy to alter their sexual orientation is turning into a political fundraising tool. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Bill to ban conversion therapy being turned into political fundraising tool

Conservative MP and failed leadership candidate Derek Sloan is asking his supporters to help him raise $25,000

A proposed bill seeking to make it illegal to force someone into therapy to alter their sexual orientation or gender identity is turning into a political fundraising tool.

Conservative MP and failed leadership candidate Derek Sloan is asking his supporters to help him raise $25,000 for his re-election bid on the strength of his effort to fight against the bill.

Sloan has long been opposed to the legislation, and used it during his leadership campaign to rally supporters in the social conservative wing of the party by suggesting it amounted to child abuse.

In a letter sent to supporters Thursday, he said the Liberals’ bill amounts to an “insidious ideological approach to gender identity, potentially harming many children for the rest of their lives.”

He also alleges that most children questioning their gender or sexual orientation will just “grow out of it” and the bill would criminalize private conversations aimed at trying to help kids feel happy with the body they were born with.

The Liberals have insisted the bill will do no such thing, and is focused on ending the widely discredited practice of conversion therapy. Numerous studies have said it does not work and leaves those who undergo it suffering from long-term psychological wounds.

The bill is currently before the House of Commons justice committee after passing second reading last month in a vote of 308-7.

Sloan was among the seven Tory MPs who refused to back the bill, a fact the Liberals noted in their own recent fundraising pitch based on the proposed legislation.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole may say he wants more Canadians to “see a Conservative when they look in the mirror, the Liberals noted.

“But when Canadians look at Parliament, they keep seeing Conservatives voting against their fundamental human rights.”

O’Toole did vote in favour of the bill, after giving a lengthy speech about his party’s belief in LGBTQ rights, Still, he suggested it does need amending.

A sticking point for caucus remains a sense the bill isn’t clear enough on the issue of allowing people to seek counselling without fear of reprisal for those who offer that support.

“Mr. O’Toole believes that conversion therapy is wrong and should be banned, that is why he voted in support of the bill at second reading,” said spokeswoman Chelsea Tucker, by email on Thursday.

“We will be proposing a reasonable amendment so that all parties can support this important legislation.”

Eight other Conservative MPs also suggested in their votes that they were only supporting it in the hopes it would be amended.

Two Tories abstained from the vote and some just didn’t show up, either in person or virtually.

O’Toole did, however, recently vote against a bill that would expand eligibility for medical assistance in dying, another piece of legislation causing consternation in the social conservative ranks.

The Liberals took that as proof that O’Toole is more beholden to social conservatives than the rights of all.

“We will always protect and support Canadians’ human rights, but especially in a minority Parliament, we know that we can never take our progress for granted,” the Liberals said in their Oct. 30 fundraising email.

Sloan finished fourth in the leadership race O’Toole won in August. The party uses a ranked ballot, and in the end it was Sloan’s supporters, as well as that for candidate Leslyn Lewis, that put O’Toole out ahead of rival Peter MacKay.

Lewis and Sloan are both avowed social conservatives. Lewis will be running for the party in the next federal election in the Ontario riding of Haldimand-Norfolk. Sloan represents the Ontario riding of Hastings-Lennox and Addington.

O’Toole has promised to respect their views, and as a show of faith in that direction, allowed his caucus to vote freely on both recent bills.

His office would not comment directly on Sloan’s fundraising email Thursday and the party itself did not return a request for comment.

Still, the Liberals have suggested that Sloan be booted out of caucus over a number of inflammatory comments he made during his leadership campaign.

Sloan said Thursday they are trying to silence his voice and those of people who agree with him.

His email also warned of the possibility of an election, saying the Liberals are already getting ready for one by smearing him and others.

“You know that I will never back down, no matter the cost,” he said.

Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Conversion therapy banfederal government

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Christine Perkins is the new superintendent of schools for the Vernon School District, effective Aug. 1. Perkins moves to the North Okanagan from the Kootenay Lake School District in Nelson. (Vernon School District photo)
Vernon School District names new superintendent

Dr. Christine Perkins moves from Kootenay Lake district to take over from the retiring Joe Rogers

Vernon Public Art Gallery executive director Dauna Kennedy and board member Kyle Britton accept a $43,400 grant from the BC Arts Council one-time StrongerBC fund amid the COVID-19 pandemic April 9, 2021. (VPAG)
$43K boost for Vernon gallery

Province backs local art gallery with one-time pandemic grant

A 46-year-old man from Armstrong died in Revelstoke hospital after being injured in the Lumby area. (File photo)
Armstrong snowmobiler dies in Revelstoke hospital

46-year-old man injured in Tsuius Mountain area of Monashees around Lumby area

Part of the massive mess left behind in a Spallumcheen rental home owned by Wes Burden, whose tenants bolted from the property in the middle of the night. Burden is now facing a hefty cleaning and repair bill as a result. (Photo submitted)
Spallumcheen landlord’s home trashed by tenants

Rooms filled with junk, garbage, human and animal feces; landlord scared to rent again

B.C. wineries are open for indoor tasting despite new provincial health regulations. Photo- 
50th Parallel Winery, Instagram.
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
Suspicion of ‘fake news media’ makes rally uncomfortable for Salmon Arm event photographer

More than 300 people counted at city park for ‘Rally For Food Security’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

The former Summerland Asset Development Initiative building on Prairie Valley Road in Summerland was suggested as the site for a temporary transitional housing facility for the community. However, Summerland council has rejected this proposal. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Summerland council rejects transitional housing facility

Concerns raised about short timeline and condition of municipally-owned building

Shayla, an 8-pound black and grey Havanese, was stolen from outside a store on Banks Road on Saturday. (Contributed)
Stolen pup located, Kelowna RCMP confirms

Mounties said on April 12 that Shayla, the 8-pound, black and grey Havanese dog, has been located safe and sound

Penticton Vees continue their winning streak carrying a 5-0 win title as of Sunday night's hockey action. (Cherie Morgan/Cherie Morgan Photography)
Penticton Vees continue winning streak

Sunday night’s 6-1 win has them with five in a row since the start of the season

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Most Read